Rev. Billy Holland
When we think about the challenges and possibilities of our future, it’s easy to ignore our responsibilities while we imagine someone else stepping into our situation and helping us achieve our goals. Hoping that another person will provide what we need or figure out the solutions to our problems is nota substitute for perseverance. It’s true, there are times when the generosity of others makes a huge difference, but God has given us a sound mind and un-limited potential to be successful if we can only learn how to develop faith in His plans for us. Along with His resources, acritical spiritual principle is to pray and wait until we know we have heard His voice. However, I have also learned there is an important balance where often the Lord is actually waiting on us to believe and take the initiative to press forward. When we place our trust in Him and allow Him to change our attitudes into a positive force, that which seems unattainable moves into the area of possibility. Romans 12:2 reveals that we have a responsibility to be trans-formed by the renewing of our mind in order that we may prove and demonstrate God’s perfect will. We must allow the Lord to change our minds from fear and doubt as learning to believe and trust our Heavenly Father is a foundational pillar of the meaning of life. If we focus on being the best we can be for His glory, we will live in joy, but if we doubt and expect the worse, we release the powers of negativity that can stifle our hope. In every situation, we can either respond with a positive confidence or a negative skepticism and these choices determine whether we live in spiritual peace or emotional misery. I recently read a true story that was told by Hugh Fullerton, a famous sports writer many years ago. His account involved a man named Josh O’Reilly who managed the San Antonio base-ball team that was a part of the Texas League. O’Reilly had an impressive roster of all-star players, including seven whose batting average was over three hundred. Everyone thought this super-team would easily win the championship but mysteriously they began the season losing seventeen of their first twenty games. The players could not hit the ball and as time went by, frustration boiled over into angry accusations against each other. Just when it seemed the situation could not be worse, a weak team humiliated them as they managed only one hit the entire game. In the clubhouse after the embarrassment, the players were confused and depressed. O’Reilly knew he had the most talented team in the league but also realized the trouble was in their mind. These men were not expecting to get a hit or anticipating a victory because they were thinking wrong. They had slowly allowed doubt and uncertainty to fill their conscience with discouragement and defeat. We are what we think and when our mental focus is controlled by negativity; it prevents confidence and in this situation; it was causing a disruption with their timing, strength, and coordination. And yet, they were the only ones who could change the situation. A certain minister named reverend Schlater was holding special services in the area and he was drawing large crowds as his messages were filled with inspiration and encouragement. O’Reilly asked each player to lend him their favorite bat, which he loaded into a wheelbarrow and told the players to stay in the clubhouse as he had something very important to show them. Soon he returned overflowing with excitement as he told the players this minister had anointed, prayed, and blessed the bats and they now contained a spiritual power that could not be stopped. The players were astounded and jumping with enthusiasm. The next day they confidently overwhelmed the best team in the league with 37 hits and 20 runs scored. They continued their way through the league schedule and convincingly won the championship. Regardless of what we believe about praying over a baseball bat or positive decrees, we can agree that something very powerful happened within the minds and attitudes of the players. The sports equipment did not change, but with a new way of thinking, the creative power of faith blossomed. Mark 9:23 declares this spiritual reality is available to all who place their trust in God’s divine truth instead of pessimism and despair.